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NEHAWU planning to take the Northern Cape Department of Education head on

9 October 2017

The National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union [NEHAWU] branches have had numerous engagements with the Northern Cape Provincial Department of Education on issues that adversely affect our members and workers in the province.

A myriad of issues were presented to both the MEC and the Superintended General supposedly Head of Department (HoD) in terms of the South African Schools Act for consideration. Last year in October, the management of the department committed to implement the demands of the union, up to date the department has not fulfilled its promises and this has left us dejected.

Another meeting was set up between the union and the MEC to assess the progress on the implementation of the undertakings made by the department in relation to workers' demands, so far no implementation has taken place and members are getting more agitated by the day as a result. Working conditions are also deteriorating by the minute and workers are disadvantaged by the intransigency of the employer who refuses to implement the undertaking agreed upon in order to improve working conditions.

The union is demanding the following:

  • We demand the immediate absorption all contract workers including Expanded Public Works Programme [EPWP]workers
  • We demand the stopping of the conversion of Public Servant Act post for educators
  • We demand upward mobility/career pathing to all employees of the department and also demand participation in the recruitment and selection processes
  • We demand grade progression for all comrades who are on the last notch
  • We demand that all drivers be promoted to salary 5
  • We demand the abolishment of salary level 1-3
  • We demand all school clerks who are at level 5 to move to level 7
  • We demand skills development for non-teaching staff at schools
  • We demand that employees on the last notch be grade progressed
  • We demand that workers at schools be considered for posts at departmental offices (Head office and District office)
  • We demand Funza Lushaka bursaries for workers at schools
  • We demand that principals must release members of the Union when time-offs is issued
  • We demand that principals be trained on Employee Perfomance Management Development System [EPMDS] processes and management
  • As NEHAWU, we have been patient for far too long while workers continue to be marginalised and while their working conditions degenerate by the minute. In this regard, as part of intensifying our call, we will mobilize for the removal of the Head of the Department (so-called Superintendent), the Chief Director and Director Human Resources for their contribution into the rot that is currently engulfing the department.

We also note the victimisation and intimidation of workers especially those who raises concerns about these unbearable working conditions, as NEHAWU, we do not take kind to any form of victimisation and intimidation of workers. As such, we will take any employer head on whenever workers are obstructed from fighting for what is due to them.

Failure by the department to implement these demands in the next two weeks will leave us with no option but to go on an industrial action. Withdrawing our labour power should send a clear message to the department that we mean business. The intransigency of the department is further entrenching the polarisation of the relationship between the two parties. In this regard, we call on the department to engage us in earnest for the sake of ensuring the wellbeing of workers and workers in return performing their duties with vigour.

The national office bearers, having visited different branches in the Kimberly area last week came to a conclusion that our provincial office must convene an urgent meetings with different MECs while on the other hand preparing for a provincial day of action in November which will be led by the six national office bearers of the national union directed to the Premier. In this regard, we want to warn the Northern Cape government not to take NEHAWU for granted as these matters can easily be elevated nationally for a real and prolong fight which might severely affect service delivery in the province.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 082 455 2500 or email: khaya@nehawu.org.za Visit NEHAWU website: www.nehawu.org.za